Monday, January 10, 2011

Cooking with Giada Part Two

This week I changed my mind over and over again about what I was going to make.  I've been watching a lot of the Everyday Italian episodes so everything looked so good.  I finally settled on Garlic Toast, Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil, Blueberry Mascarpone Turnovers.  Also, we had company over Saturday so I made some Nutella Ravioli and the Chocolate Panna Cotta with Amaretto Whipped Creme.  Everything and I mean Everything was so delicious!

I'm a little late getting this post up, but I swear I have a good reason.  Last week I went to the doctor and found out I have a muscle spasm going from my neck (at the hairline) to my left shoulder.  I've been on flexiral since Wednesday and I guess this medicine helps your muscles relax but also makes you go to sleep and go to sleep good.  I was laid out on the couch gone at 6pm last night and didn't wake up until 7am this morning.  Out!  But now for the stuff you really want.. the recipes I made.

First up, I made some garlic toast.  It wasn't really a recipe, but rather an accompanent to another dish in Giada's Kitchen cookbook.  It was very easy to do and had I thought about it myself I could have actually done it without looking at the cookbook.  Basically you just take a loaf of italian bread, slice it into 1/2 inch slices, drizzle evoo (thank you RR) and bake for 8 minutes.  Once out of the oven you rub garlic cloves over the toasted sides. 

To go with our garlic toast, I made Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil.  This dish has been haunting me since I saw it on Everyday Italian earlier in the week (it's also in Giada's Kitchen).  I almost couldn't wait until the weekend to make it.  It was so amazing.  My daughters gobbled it up.  My husband gobbled it up.  By golly, I even took two helpings of it.  It is such an easy and quick recipe that it's made itself into my "go-to" recipe book.

These little guys are A.MAZ.ING!!!!!  I actually got the recipe for these while watching Everyday Italian's Rock the Block episode.  They are called Blueberry Mascarpone Turnovers.  Now I couldn't find mascarpone in my grocer so I found a recipe online to make my own.  All you really need is a bag of frozen blueberries, mascarpone cheese, lemon, sugar and pie pastry dough and then fry the little guys up.  Quick and easy dessert that kids can help make and everyone loves.  My youngest daughter helped me make 12 of these cute little things.  Mixing, stirring and cutting out dough.  Not bad for a 3 year old.  She loves helping me in the kitchen.. and she loves watching Giada :)

Nutella.  Ravioli.  Need I say more?  These little crunchy bits of heaven are great as appetizers and dessert.  I would recommend putting in more nutella than a teaspoon because when fried up it creates a bubble around the chocolate spread.  Also, make sure you close the won ton wrapper tightly from the 90 degree angle on out so you get all the air out.  That could also be why my ravioli had a bubble around the spread.   

My wonderful Husband is eating the leftover ones as we speak.  :)

Ah, and last but not least, the Chocolate Panna Cotta with Amaretto Whipped Creme (eek, not shown but believe me it was delicious).  This decadent treat is pure heaven to any chocolate lover.  I was getting a little flustered while making it because I had only bought a 4oz bar of choclate not realizing it wasn't 12oz.  So while the 4oz had already melted, I'm sitting there wondering to myself "Hmm.. this does not look like enough chocolate for the amount of milk/egg mixture I have here.  Let me just double check how much chocolate I have."  Oh and that's where things got interesting, I had to hurry up and look through my pantry to find some more chocolate and then hurry and get that chocolate chopped up and melted before the other chocolate burnt or got hard.  Luckily my awesome husband was there to help and save the day.  All in all this was a pretty easy recipe that I would make again and again and again!  Thank you Giada for such amazing recipes. 

All the recipes can be found online at

Buon Appetito!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cooking with Giada Part One

I had very very high hopes for Giada tonight.  I picked out some tasty looking dishes, prepared everything (at least I thought) exactly how it states in her Giada's Kitchen cookbook, and had two failed recipes.  Not really failed recipes because they can definitely be enhanced or fixed, but just weren't up to par for the night. 

Like I had said in the previous post, we had invited a couple friends over for dinner and games and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out recipes from our new cookbooks.  Curtis made chicken wings from Throwdown with Bobby Flay and I made Pecorino Crackers, Orzo Stuffed Peppers and Berry Strata.  We also had some Norwegian lasagna and salad to go with it all, as well as, a veggie tray that we'd been snacking on.  If I was rating Bobby Flay's chicken wings I would definitely give them a 10, and make Curtis make them every day for the next month.  They were delicious.  Giada's recipes, well, next time I will save those recipes just for my family in case it doesn't taste super delicious like my dreams had hoped.

I will start off with the Pecorino Crackers.  I did not expect to find pecorino romano cheese at my grocer since I live in Hawaii so I just went with asiago cheese - I read online it's a great substitute.  I loved these crackers.  I definitely can't eat too many of them because of the saltiness - I assume from the cheese because you add unsalted butter to the dough.  Surprisingly, however, I was the only one to eat them (aside from my daughter).  The recipe says it makes 24 crackers but for me only made 18.  I think I have 12 leftover.  My oldest loved them just as much as me so I'm sure she'll be snacking on these tomorrow afternoon.  Overall I think I would make this recipe again for a dinner party, but not an everyday meal.

Next, we have the Orzo Stuffed Peppers.  I had some really high hopes for this one.  The picture in the cookbook just looks so deliciously appetizing.  Truth be told, it was too bland for my taste.  But on the other hand it was way too minty.  I don't think I would ever put mint in that dish again.  And, I would probably not put a whole 28oz can of tomatoes.  The tomatoes were a little too overpowering.  Ok so what we know from this is you basically taste tomatoes and mint and nothing else, yet you add salt, pepper, garlic and zucchini.  I assume there will be a next time, so next time I will only add about half the tomatoes but all the juice from the can and definitely put more garlic and maybe some onion along with some different seasonings.  The chicken wings in the back of the picture are the ones Curtis made.  Don't they just look so delicious?!

Lastly, I made the Berry Strata.  This one I was definitely holding out for.  I thought for sure it was going to be A-MAZING!  Honestly, it was just eh, ok.  I think that had a lot to do with me though.  I don't think I drained the berries out completely so it made the dish really soggy and took an extra 20 minutes to bake.  Also, I used regular sandwich bread.  After preparing the dish I read some reviews stating to use sourdough bread, next time I'll try that.  As you can see in the picture below, the leftover liquid from the berries has seeped out from the little empty spot - basically that purple blob in the bottom right hand corner.  This dish isn't exactly an american or french sweet bread pudding so if you are looking for something sweet you won't find it here.  The only sweetners it had was 3 Tbl of honey and 3 Tbl of white sugar (if I'm remembering that correctly), so that should be an indication as to how sweet it'll come out.  My husband wasn't fond of his bite, but I think it's because he was expecting something really sweet instead.  This I will definitely try over again with correctly drained berries and some whipped cream.  Possibly for brunch with her ricotta pancakes. :)

Next week I'm trying out Cornbread Panzanella, Linguini with Shrimp and Lemon Oil, and for dessert Chocolate Panna Cotta with Amaretto Whipped Cream.  I'm crossing my fingers Giada doesn't fail me next Sunday.